In the lunch hour and afternoon of Sunday, July 14, a different type of Sunday’s finest clothing will be worn by the congregation at Mount Vernon Baptist Church as Thunder Sunday returns with more than 400 bikers anticipated to attend.

“Thunder Sunday is a church service dedicated to biking,” said Keith Honeycutt, Mount Vernon member and chaplain for Boone’s Peacemakers chapter of the Christian Motorcyclist Association. “From the praise band down to the people who take up the offering and everything in between is done by bikers that particular Sunday.”

Going into its fifth year, Thunder Sunday has attracted between 400 and 460 bikers. Honeycutt said they are expecting bikers to travel up from Hickory, Charlotte, Cherokee, Wilmington and South Carolina and Georgia.

“It doesn’t matter if you wear leather and jeans or have piercings and tattoos, we’ll love you just the same,” Honeycutt said.

Inviting bikers to worship together is something Honeycutt says he felt compelled to do and to practice what the church preaches when it comes to acceptance.

“The biker world is one church members don’t know how to react to,” Honeycutt said. “They just don’t get many invitations to come to church and have a worship experience.”

“It’s an outreach to a group of people who nobody cares about, and I do,” Honeycutt said of the biker population. ”We need to pay attention to them.”

The gathering will begin at 11:30 a.m. with registration and a traditional Southern barbecue, Honeycutt said, which is a change from past years. Honeycutt said the later start is to accommodate bikers who will be traveling in from several hours away.

“They love the difference and change in temperature,” Honeycutt said of the bikers who ride up from off the mountain. “They love the ride up the mountain and they just love the good old Southern open door hospitality.”

The service will start at 1 p.m., and will be a stark contrast to a traditional Baptist church service.

“Well, it’s not going to be your grandma’s church service, it’s going to be an upbeat Southern rock and roll hymm praise service,” Honeycutt said. “There won’t be any red hymnals.”

For more information on the Boone chapter of the Christian Motorcyclist Association, visit www.cmaser6.org/NC/peacemakers/default.aspx.

For more information about Thunder Sunday or Mount Vernon Baptist Church, visit www.mvbcb.org or call (828) 266-9700.

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